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From pandemic to production in 30 days: Building COVID-19 rapid point-of-care quality assurance applications for RCPAQAP

Covid virus

This project was completed by Trineo before our teams became one; but regardless of which name is attached to it, all of our customers can count on receiving the same level of support, dedication, and expertise.

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Quality Assurance Programs (RCPAQAP) is a world leader in the provision of external quality assurance (EQA) for pathology laboratories in disciplines including molecular genetics, biosecurity, and point-of-care. Their programs are offered in Australia and internationally in over 100 countries.

These are unprecedented times as we globally navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. The way we work and play is under attack by an invisible invader that threatens our society as we know it. Global media and scientific experts suggest one key to re-engaging in some semblance of normalcy and enabling our communities to go back to work is widespread, rapid testing.

As healthcare professionals race to create reliable testing produced at scale for the masses, they also require independent applications for medical professionals undergoing live testing and accessing their results.

One such company, The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Quality Assurance Programs (RCPAQAP), is moving as urgently as possible to assist with Point-of-Care testing for the SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses. World leaders in the provision of external quality assurance for pathology laboratories needed support in rapidly setting up an independent application to capture, synchronise, and transfer testing data between patients and the necessary medical professionals and governing bodies.

Scaling up quickly for widespread testing

RCPAQAP quickly needed a set of independent applications to support scaling up for widespread point-of-care testing for COVID-19. The applications needed to capture, synchronise and transfer testing data between testing facilities and the necessary medical professionals and governing bodies. Ease of use during a very stressful time for individuals is critical for the application’s accuracy and success.

They needed to successfully - and urgently - roll out a new point-of-care testing quality assurance program for COVID-19 to ensure the rapid proliferation of test kits were performing as healthcare providers expected. It needed to be accurate, it needed to be simple...and they needed it FAST. Enter Trineo Express.

In order to help our community and others across the globe fight the growing pandemic, RCPAQAP set to build consumer-facing and healthcare professional end-to-end applications that:

  • Created an independent system to capture, sync and transfer data
  • Delivered the highest quality user experience in the quickest way possible, without being constrained or slowed down by pre-existing heavyweight systems
  • Reduced all possible instances of user error or decision fatigue caused by users experiencing extreme stress
  • Created a minimum viable product ready for staging, testing and production within weeks as test kits become available for the public
  • Scaled to high volumes of tests

Minimum valuable product

Moving at the speed of science, our Solutions and UX team approached RCPAQAP’s challenge with the design philosophy of simplicity and speed, quickly creating consumer and medical professional applications with the minimum data requirements.

In a matter of hours, Trineo was able to provide an initial prototype designed to enable easy enrolment, entering necessary data and syncing back to the appropriate systems to ensure accurate results are recorded and sent to the right stakeholders for review.

As new information and requirements became available, we continued to test and learn whilst building out the appropriate capabilities and ensuring our applications and data systems would be robust enough and ready in time to go live.

We delivered:

Frontline medical staff facing system to collect user data using a simple design, automation and minimal fields to address acute needs under a time of duress
Internal facing system to review results from COVID-19 testing leveraging clear indications of data entry matching and minimising instances of human error

Real-time set up for all new testing formats

We produced a live MVP in two weeks and continued iterating on the development whilst RCPAQAP was embarking on government approvals. Within six weeks, they began enrolling customers into the program.

RCPAQAP was able to provide EQA programs for all approved SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) tests with the ability to add any new testing formats as they come to market in real-time.

Traditional external quality assurance programs return results in 2-3 weeks. This solution allowed RCPAQAP to substantially reduce this time, and provide immediate provisional feedback to the operator on their test performance. Early Identification of poorly performing operators allows RCPAQAP to intervene within 24 hours and re-train and reassess the operators performing the test.

The assurance of accurate, timely COVID-19 testing has immeasurable benefits to both public health and the economy. Although the monetary ROI is still being calculated at this early stage (August 2020), the application has already shown tangible benefits to customers by rapidly detecting poorly performing COVID-19 test kits and allowing them to be removed and replaced with better performing tests. The impact of avoiding misdiagnosis prevents further community transmissions - saving lives and livelihoods and supporting governmental policy.

Continuous enhancements and widespread rollout of rapid applications

As a result of the simplicity and speed-to-market nature of the new express applications, RCPAQAP is embarking on a broader rollout of the application across other EQA programs in its portfolio.

Currently, they’re sharing the apps with customers across regional statewide health services to improve the acquisition of EQA results from all point-of-care devices. For example, with multiple glucometers finger pricks and “dumb devices,” there is no way to automatically collect and connect that information. These flexible applications can now provide a way to send out the 2D barcode to complete the EQA on the spot.

The rollout will continue as RCPAQAP integrates with its portal for ALL point-of-care programs. That means connecting thousands and thousands of instruments in regional statewide health services with real-time EQA.

Record-breaking results:

  • Reduced time for EQA performance feedback from 2-3 weeks to immediately.
  • Reduced test kit setup time from multiple hours to less than a minute
  • Reduced enrolment time from potentially hundreds of hours for manual enrolments to minutes for customer-supplied bulk enrolments
  • Reduced sample setup time from hours to less than a minute
  • Allowed integration with multiple logistics providers for rapid dispatch and worldwide delivery
We've worked with the Trineo team over the years so we knew we could expect creativity and expert consultation. The team moved quickly to understand the challenges with COVID-19 testing and come up with a concept as the world was experiencing a growing pandemic. Using their Express model, they were able to quickly prototype and provide brand new testing applications in a matter of weeks. Our customers have been really impressed with how easy the solution is to set up and use on a daily basis.Derek Holzhauser

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